Socialgamesobserver

The Latest News on the Social Games Market in Europe and Emerging Markets

22Apr/13

BuddyBet Raises $3 Million In Funding

By Camilla Noon

BuddyBet, the world’s most social betting platform, has received $3 million from private investors to fund the next phase of the development of its P2P betting platform.

After the successful launches of the B2C sports betting offering on www.buddybet.com in October 2012 and the integrated monetization of conversations on third party websites in February of this year, BuddyBet now aims to disrupt the status quo in the gaming industry by introducing a user-friendly way of monetizing online and mobile games.

By combining the concepts of P2P betting and online gaming, BuddyBet allows gamers to raise the stakes by placing bets against their opponents. This strategy adds to the user’s gaming experience and, more importantly for games developers, provides a user-friendly solution for monetizing their games while maintaining a more pure, uninterrupted gaming experience than what they produce through other monetization methods.

BuddyBet has already gathered momentum in the sports media industry through a fruitful partnership with DSG, which has seen their platform integrated across more than 180 websites including Footymad.net, and they are now parlaying that success with an extension of their platform across the much larger gaming industry.

Initial traction with gaming sites shows that allowing gamers to participate in skilled betting challenges against opponents makes games stickier, therefore increasing time spent playing the games or on the website and increasing brand loyalty. Using a proprietary automated skills matching engine, BuddyBet matches players of similar ability levels to ensure bets are placed in a fair situation and add to the competitive element of the game.

Research conducted by Digi-Capital in the 2013 games investment review estimates that the online and mobile gaming industry will be worth $83 billion by 2016. However, social gaming investment plummeted last year by $1 billion, making monetization of social gaming a current and contentious issue.

“Games developers, big and small, all face similar challenges when it comes to monetizing their games,” said Jarrod Epps, CEO, BuddyBet. “For huge brands with dedicated communities it’s easier to charge a high retail price. However, online and mobile developers targeting more casual gamers must turn to alternative methods such as banner advertising and freemium models which annoy their audience and often drive users away.”

We believe that skill game betting is an effective way of monetizing games without the negative implications for a pure and user-friendly experience that occur with other popular monetization methods. BuddyBet offers a fun and effective way of allowing gamers to support their favourite developers, and this latest round of funding will be crucial to our effort to fulfil this objective.”

30Oct/12

Real-money gambling – the new hope for Zynga, …?

By Guest Post

Zynga and other social gaming operators are preparing to enter the real-money online gambling market. What at first glance seems like natural step for Zynga and Co. to make easy money in a billion-dollar industry is in reality much more complex undertaking. Here, one of the most renowned researchers of the online gambling industry (see also MECN) offers an in-depth analysis of the plans of Zynga and other social gaming operators.

Since the success of Zynga’s Texas Hold’Em poker, the social versions of traditional gambling games (e.g., poker, bingo, slots, …) have become an integral part of Facebook’s game offers. But now both the social gaming and the online gambling industry are beginning to discover social gam(bl)ing as a future key revenue source.

Social gaming industry eager to offer real-money gambling

The recent activities of Zynsoundga and Facebook and the launch of Betable are clear signs that the social gaming industry has high hopes for its move into real-money gambling:

  • Zynga announced that the company wants to move into real-money online gambling. This is an understandable move in line with the company’s strategy to find new revenue sources in addition to selling virtual chips and goods, …
  • Facebook and Gamesys just started the first real-money gambling offer in the U.K., and many others will surely follow.
  • Betable just recently launched its product which supports social gaming operators to offer real-money gambling without many hassles; one of its first customers is Big Fish.

But online gambling operators are also eager to offer social gam(bl)ing

Social gaming operators may find it interesting that the online gambling industry is thinking exactly the other way around. As the online gambling industry is experiencing tougher times, many operators believe that social gaming and gambling will be their new big revenue source:

  • Market leader BwinParty enters social gaming market BwinParty, a market leader in the online gambling sphere, has also entered the social gaming market with a big bang and is willing to invest up to USD 50 million over the next 24 months. Its primary business model will be the “sale of virtual credits to purchase entries as well as virtual gifts, decorations, and consumables”, and slots and poker will be launched first.
  • Social gam(bl)ing everywhere – In the online gambling industry social gaming is everywhere. No conference (e.g., key conference EiG) is without a social media evangelists, no industry magazine without social gaming specials, … and Silicon Valley seems to hold the future of gambling in its hands.
  • Hefty investments by traditional gambling giants in social gaming – In the past month, traditional gambling heavyweights have become very active in the social gaming market. For example, the U.S. gambling service/technology provider IGT bought the social gaming operator DoubleDown for ca. USD 500 million, and Caesars acquired Playtika.

Social gambling – it’s going to be tough

Readers of presentations explaining the attractiveness of the real-money gambling sector cannot help wonder why companies ever invested in social gaming in the first place rather than putting their money into (social) online gambling right away: much higher ARPUs, much bigger market, hardly any legal challenges, … However, the reality presents a much more complex picture without any sure-fire successes.

Complex legal and regulatory challenges

Legal and regulatory issues are among the most relevant issues for the online gambling industry. In general, in most jurisdictions online gambling is illegal unless you have a local license. Most states offer such licenses only to monopolistic state/public operators (e.g., state lotteries), and when such licenses are given out to private operators, the latter often have to pay hefty taxes (e.g., France) and comply with strict regulations (e.g., customer identification, responsible gambling, …).

There are only very few jurisdictions where you can get such online gambling licenses more “easily”, among them Malta, Gibraltar, Costa Rica, … and, last but not least, the U.K. Many operators holding licenses issued in such jurisdictions are trying to use their licenses also in other states – this in turn leads to endless legal disputes with the respective local authorities. The final outcome of these disputes ranges from “continue and build up a billion-dollar business” to “welcome in jail”. Because of these complex issues the current focus of social gambling is on entering the market in the U.K.

Another question is whether social gam(bl)ing might soon be regulated separately. In our opinion, this is unlikely because all relevant sectors are already regulated. If it’s a matter of real-money gambling (social or not), you have to consider the pertinent gambling laws. Most laws define an activity as gambling only if it offers the chance to win “real” money (or a similar non-cash benefit). If the “only” prize is the chance to continue playing the game (by winning more chips/credits), the activity is likely not considered gambling and is subject to the same laws as all other online games (e.g., Farmville).

Increased competition

As described above, the (social) online gambling market is experiencing a wave of new market competitors, and at the same time many online gambling segments (especially online poker) are experiencing increasing market saturation. As our recent report Online Gambling Benchmarking shows, the online poker business of many key gambling operators decreased on average by 7% in 2011 (2010 = -15%).

If you want to be 100% legally safe, your profits will likely suffer

Most social gambling operators, especially if headquartered in the U.S., will be interested in being 100% safe when it comes to compliance issues. The only way to achieve this is to obtain a local license where available (e.g., France, Italy, Germany, U.K., …), but these licenses usually go hand in hand with hefty taxes and strict regulatory requirements.

However, in contrast to traditional online gambling offers, social gambling has one important advantage. In the social world, Facebook ensures (at least for the time being) that unlicensed grey market operators keep out of the social communities. Therefore, social gambling is the only market where licensed operators do not have to compete with unlicensed operators who can offer more attractive products because they do not have to comply with any regulations or pay taxes

The opening of the U.S. online poker market, a never-ending story

Many social gaming operators also count on the real-money online poker market in the U.S., worth billions of dollars, being liberalised very soon. We do not have a crystal ball, but the online gambling industry has been expecting the imminent liberalisation of the U.S. online poker market for many years and has often believed the market to be “on the verge” of being liberalised. If this hoped-for liberalisation becomes reality in the near future, it will probably involve solutions on the state level, which are burdensome for all operators.

Not all gambling is social

Zynga poker is still the industry standard when it comes to social gaming because poker is perfectly suited for the social world. But what about the other big segments: betting, slots/casino, lottery, and bingo? With the exception of bingo, these other games do not have an immediately obvious social component. In most social casinos/slot machine halls (apparently they are the key focus of the industry) the “social” aspect seems (so far) to be an afterthought. In addition, social betting seems to be a hard row to hoe as the recent insolvency of social betting operator Crowdpark shows, and social lotteries seem to be relegated to a niche of their own.

It seems that gambling-style social gaming more and more neglects the social component. But if operators of social games want to win over customers from traditional online gambling offers, they should put their focus on the social component of the games. This might take some effort, but even traditional lotteries were able to add a social component (and were successful), as the example of El Gordo and Postcode Lottery shows.

Get your industry insights first

As described above, the real-money online gambling market is a financial and legal minefield that is probably already past its prime. Play-money social games that are successful in restrictive markets, such as the U.S., are probably not easily turned into real-money offers in liberalised markets with more than 100 competing offers/sites.

Therefore, before entering this minefield, you should thoroughly investigate it by getting as much industry expertise as you can. In addition to extensive number crunching of key financial figures and KPIs (see also MECN’s Online Gambling Benchmarking), hiring former online gambling executives is highly recommended. Zynga has now taken the first step and hired online gambling veteran Maytal Ginsburg Olsha away from 888.com.

1Aug/12

Social Gambling: IGT’s DoubleDown Casino Partners with Golden Acorn Casino

By Thorsten Bleich

International Game Technology has announced that the Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center will be hosting the DoubleDown Casino application on their casino website to provide a free play gaming experience to their casino players.

Through IGT’s DoubleDown Casino application, casinos such as Golden Acorn are able to provide their players games, access to a full-casino style offering of games in one place-the casino property’s website. Adding the DoubleDown app to the Golden Acorn site allows the casino to offer their players the opportunity to participate in DoubleDown’s multi-player poker directly on their branded sites.

“Offering the same game titles on the web that we offer inside our casino gives us the unique opportunity to deliver fun and engaging casino style experiences to our players,” said David Baggerly, director of marketing at Golden Acorn Casino & Travel Center. “This is an incredible chance to drive interactive slot culture to our players, while allowing them to stay connected to our brand.”

Guests of Golden Acorn will have the opportunity to participate in  social game play, directly on the casino’s website. Included in the line-up of game play are Texas Hold’Em poker, and some of IGT’s top performing slot titles, including Da Vinci Diamonds and Cleopatra.

“Golden Acorn recognizes the opportunity to provide gaming entertainment to their players across various channels,” said Eric Tom, IGT executive vice president of global sales. “This solution is allowing them to grasp an opportunity to evolve as the landscape of gaming also changes, permitting them to drive engaging game play directly to their casino guests and fans of the Golden Acorn brand.”

25May/12

AbZorba Games Launches Platform to Connect Real Money Casinos and Mobile Social Gambling

By Regina Leuwer

European mobile social gambling company AbZorba Games is opening its Blackjack and other casino titles to other partners as a white label gaming platform for just-for-fun mobile social casino games on Android and iOS.

AbZorba’s so-called AGON platform is targeted at real money casino and betting companies trying to get into just-for-fun mobile gambling, mainly to attract new audiences but also to get a piece of the increasing virtual goods revenues of freemium social casino apps. “We firmly believe the collision between virtual and real money gambling worlds is happening. Many real casino brands are behind the curve on social mobile games,” said AbZorba co-founder and CEO Andrew Hughes.
Juniper Research estimates that mobile gambling could reach a volume of $100bn by 2017, driven by social gaming and the development of mobile wallets.

AbZorba Games’ ‘Hub of Fun Casino’ includes real-time Blackjack as well as Poker and Roulette with Bingo and slots titles to follow. Casino companies could publish these games under their own brand, or advertise as affiliate partners in the existing apps. Social features include sending other players virtual drinks, private instant message chats and posting achievements on Facebook and Twitter.
According to Hughes, AbZorba is in talks with partners, including a major online betting and casino company from the UK.

Founded in September 2011 in Athens Greece (but now headquartered in Delaware, USA), AbZorba Games builds free-to-play mobile social and multiplayer casino titles for Android and iOS. Their most successful game Live Blackjack21 has 800,000 installs on Android, according to the developer.

17May/12

Guest Post: Who are the Players Behind the Social Casino and Betting Games Hype?

By Sebastian Sujka

[Editor's note: This is a guest post by Martin Frindt; Co-Founder Crowdpark, developer of social betting game Bet Tycoon and slot machine app Pet Vegas on Facebook. Martin takes a closer look at user demographics behind social gambling apps and what differentiates them from real money gamblers.]

Social casino and betting games are a hot market. Gambling operators are eyeing and buying social games developers in hopes that social gamers will convert to real money gamblers or to include a new stand-alone business with a lot of growth potential into their portfolio. Social casino and betting games – with a virtual rather than real money payout – have been bringing in high revenues. The relatively small sums paid for virtual goods add up well due to the huge reach of social games. Although there are far fewer online gamblers, their lifetime value is impressively high. When offered in tandem with real money (payout) games, social casino and betting games’ revenue potential is remarkable.
Two major factors have created much excitement regarding the potential of social casino and betting games. First, Facebook has been rumored to be in talks with gambling operators to allow real money gambling on its platform. Second, there’s a greater chance than ever that the U.S. will legalize online gambling. While these important variables are being negotiated by influential parties, gambling operators and social games developers can turn their focus to game-player data. These companies must gather and interpret data determining potential synergies between virtual and real-money payout casino gaming that are not contingent on regulations beyond their control.

Successful social games require a deep knowledge of social graphs so that they are designed to generate maximum reach. And maximum reach is the key factor for monetization. Gambling operators have demonstrated their need to seek social games expertise by investing in or purchasing social games companies. Here, we investigate the player demographics and behaviors of social casino and betting games players to elaborate on why the social casino and betting games market is heating up.

Social betting games, in which users bet on sports, politics, gossip, etc., are a very new category of social game that Crowdpark is pioneering. As the number of social games grows, social casino games are becoming increasingly popular and now include: slots, bingo, blackjack, roulette and poker on Facebook. Casino games are among the best monetizing social games. The Casual Games Association Sector Report describes casino, poker and role-playing games as, on average, monetizing the best of all social games categories with 5-10 cents expected average daily revenue per daily active user (DAU). This number compares to 3-7 cents for hidden object, adventure and tournament games and 1-5 cents for puzzle, arcade, caretaking and simulation games.

Click to enlarge

Social games developers must be extremely responsive to their players’ behavior, especially since players expect games to be constantly evolving with new features and ways to connect and compete with friends. Both virtual and real money payout online gambling games currently offered by gambling operators tend to be single player games. Social games, on the other hand, leverage a social graph to motivate gameplay through relationships. Another difference between online gamblers and social casino and betting games players is that gamblers play online games for the chance to win big while social gamers play to show off achievements and to advance in the game, as well as for fun.

The average social network games player is a 40-year-old woman, quite closely resembling the average land-based casino user. Social casino games, however, attract a slightly older population with the average player being over 45. Virtual goods purchasers in social games are 58% female, 42% male.

Social casino apps like Crowdpark's Pet Vegas appeal primarily to women.

Of top spenders, 70% are female and 30% are male. One of the most successful slots games on Facebook has a user base that’s approximately 60% female. Women, who are more likely to play casino games, are also social games’ money makers.
Social casino and betting games offer the gambling operator not only the chance to convert players to real money gaming, but also the opportunity to reach a broader audience than their traditional games. Real money online betting is notoriously male-dominated with over 90% of players being male. Overall, social games are played mostly by women, and so social betting games can achieve higher rates of female players than their real money betting counterparts.

The prospect of converting millions of social casino and betting gamers to real money gamblers is driving social games company acquisitions despite the uncertainty of major variables such as real money gambling on Facebook and its legalization in the U.S. Nonetheless, virtual payout social casino and betting games offer an opportunity for gambling operators to diversify their offerings and widen their net.

12Mar/12

Game of the Week: Bet it all on Lucky Slots

By Sebastian Sujka

Gambling is rising in popularity on Facebook. Rumors are getting stronger that Facebook will allow real money gambling in several countries – possibly in the near future after their IPO. But even without betting real money gambling on Facebook continues to be a trend. Zynga, IGT, Crowdpark or Yazino have been in the news frequently whenever the discussion about gambling was heating up. Very silently, Blue Shell Games became a significant player when it comes to casino games today, counting 1.1 million monthly active users with their hit game Lucky Slots – Free Slot Machines.

Title: Lucky Slots – Free Slot Machines
Developer: Blue Shell Games
Genre: Gambling
Platform(s):
Facebook
Launch: August 2011
Language(s): English
Monthly active users: 1,100,000 MAU; 250,000 DAU
Monetization: Free-to-play with paid premium currency

How to Play

The game mechanics are pretty simply and the game begins immediately. There is no tutorial. The first spins are done by clicking on the only possible button. The first click is a win and the user continues from here and starts playing without having to have a clue how a slot machine game really works and what outcome of the reels are desirable.

The sophisticated player can set the number of lines he is betting on and the amount of currency he is betting on each line. Additionally, the last amount won is displayed. On the paytable the user can have a brief look at the rules which are explained in one picture but in the game every setting change made by the user is explained by graphic elements.

Lucky Slots - click to enlarge

With every spin the user earns experience points to advance to the next level. The experience points also depend on the amount of the total bet. With every level the user can unlock new slot machines or increase the maximum amount per bet. By keeping the maximum amount per bet low at the beginning it is very hard for new users to go bankrupt.

Next to the spin button the user also finds a “bet max” button for the maximal amount and the maximal number of lines. Hard currency can be paid for upgrades of the slot machines which, for example, increase the number of free spins.

A small amount of free currency is provided daily but if a user runs out of currency the only options to keep playing are to spend real money or to send free currency to friends and hope to expect some free currency in return. The developer’s attempts to make the user share, invite and buy are omnipresent but implemented in a way that is not annoying.

In a nutshell

Lucky Slots is a very casual easy entry casino slot machine game that creates a convincing atmosphere with the simple but right music, sounds and optics.  It is not aproblem, maybe even a plus, if the user did never use a real slot machine or does not understand the mechanics.

22Feb/12

Guest Post: The Colliding Worlds of Virtual and Real Currency Gambling

By Sebastian Sujka

[Editor's note: Real money gambling could turn into a main revenue driver for social games – if it is going to happen. In the first few weeks of 2012 this seems to have become increasingly likely; both Facebook and Zynga have been reported to be in talks with potential partners, and slot machine company IGT bought social casino game publisher DoubleDown Interactive for $500M in January. We are covering this topic from different perspectives (see the first article on gambling law).
This is a guest post by Andrew Hughes, fourth-time mobile entrepreneur and Co-Founder & CEO of AbZorba Games (founded in summer 2011) whose games Social Casino recreate the live casino game experience for Android. Currently AbZorba is expanding to multiple platforms and channels, including online and IPTV.
In this guest post, Andrew shares his views on opportunities and risks of real money social gambling.]

My father once said “Everything in life is a gamble son, just know the odds”.

Sound advice and timely for those of us who thrive off casino app games as decisions will soon have to be made to align or decline real money gambling alliances.

Social gamers’ growing appetite for casino apps

Whilst Virtual Casino app games may not be the next ‘throw a cabbage at a pig’ blockbuster – and how many try that tough route? – but they are trending, and will continue to trend, for the very fact they are perennial ‘evergreen’ fun that gamers come back to time and time again. Games such as Blackjack, Poker, Bingo to name a few.

The mobile format in particular offers the ‘perfect storm’ of smartphone penetration, network reliability and app popularity. Throw in live multi-players, like we did with AbZorba’s Live Blackjack21, and it’s seriously a compelling format.

Its proper, grown-up gaming with proper in-app spending power; AMRPU in double digits and lifespan that only cartoon characters can dream of. But take a look more closely and what can we see going on?

Online gambling is a $30B market, but what are the risks?

Casino apps sit right in the cross-hairs of the moral and legal debate between just-for-fun and real gambling – virtual chip play or real dollar risks. The outcome could be the biggest opportunity yet or the biggest threat. By offering links to gamble real money runs a considerable risk the high rollers, or ‘whales’, could turn away in droves.

Even without the chance to win real money some players spend up to $3000 for virtual chips.

So, why should a perfectly good app generating revenues from virtual goods take risks to court controversy and potential gamer backlash by offering real money gambling? And, in the online world, why should Facebook and Zynga for example, the most successful social games partnership yet, separate their strategies to contemplate launching disparate real gaming?

Simple: money. Serious money. Some say Facebook could be worth as much as $100 billion revenue when, and not if, online gambling in the US opens up again.
Even so, data shows a total global value of online gambling in 2011 approaching $30 billion of which casinos, including poker and blackjack, contributed 46%. Bingo wasn’t too bad at $1.6 billion though and marks a strong increase and presence. Let’s understand that’s a 12% increase on 2010 and in recessionary times.

Serious questions arise though. How will gamers themselves take to being invited to move from entertainment to gambling for real? Where is their risk tolerance line drawn and do we dare entice them over? Or, if we don’t, will they just go elsewhere to play? And anyway, is it even up to us to police them? Hard choices indeed.

At AbZorba, we believe most gamers have made a conscious decision not to gamble, or can’t, whilst still loving our casino game format. We know our gamers specifically enjoy the live multiplayer element we provide, where their skills are tested against others not their wallets, moreover it’s key to their loyalty. That’s not to say they don’t spend real money, some spent as much as $3000. But that whole social element of chatting up the person on the same table and buying them a ‘cocktail’ is pure fun, not risk.

However, we have noticed a fascinating change. There is a sharp rise of interest for real money gambling. Perhaps there is an untapped appetite for social gamers to morph in to real gamblers after all, empirical evidence suggests so.

Real and virtual casino gaming industry – a clash of titans

As the games industry debates the real battleground will not be between the likes of Facebook and Zynga but between the real and virtual gaming industry. Each titan is eying each other’s territory. To the real casinos social sites and apps provide a massively untapped opportunity but why should Facebook, arguably the best gatekeeper, leave ‘chips’ on the table? Why not just enter the game itself?

We too have been inundated with request from real gambling companies to reach our gamers. Why? Our gamers play live in an authentic casino environment and it’s that competitive element that encourages greater spend compared with say a single player format and they get that.

The question remains for us all though. Should we rush to bridge the divide between virtual and real money? Can the two worlds co-exist, indeed should they? Its undecided but one thing is for sure, the risks if we do or don’t are real, the stakes are high and my father’s advice has never rung truer.

8Feb/12

Expectations and Regulations for Real Money Social Gambling

By Regina Leuwer

DoubleDown Casino on Facebook. Its developer DoubleDown Interactive was acquired by slot machine maker IGT for a reported $500M.

[Editor's note: Real money gambling could turn into a main revenue driver for social games - if it is going to happen. In the first few weeks of 2012 this seems to have become increasingly likely; both Facebook and Zynga have been reported to be in talks with potential partners, and slot machine company IGT bought social casino game publisher DoubleDown Interactive for $500M in January.
We will cover this topic from different perspectives in the following weeks. This article deals with the legal regulations for gambling, especially in the US.]

In December 2011, a decision by the US Justice Department was published, reinterpreting the Wire Act of 1961. Though no gambling law was changed, this could mean a big change for online gambling. “The Department of Justice changed their view on the Wire Act.  Previously, they had asserted that it covered non-sports gambling in the internet.  They now have changed their view and agree with the reality that the Wire Act does not cover non-sports gambling,” New York-based lawyer Rick Geiger tells us. His firm Geiger Gaming Law advises clients in both gambling and gaming industry.

Wire Act still a hurdle for sports betting

“The 2006 UIGEA (Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act) law has been problematic since written. UIGEA never made intra-state gambling illegal; most of the problems presented were for inter-state financial transactions. Though UIGEA does not outlaw gambling, it did serve to increase the legal risk to online currency transactions facilitating gambling,” Geiger says.  “Now, the basic situation is that if a state makes gambling online legal in the US, then it will be reasonably allowed and functional.”

Crowdpark's Bet Tycoon lets players bet virtually on sports and other events. The company says it's not interested in real-money betting on Facebook.

The Wire Act remains to be a big problem for inter-state sports betting and there still are some anti-interstate lottery laws and something called PASPA, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 that, along with the Wire Act, makes inter-state sports gambling difficult.

For non-sports betting, the primary control now lies with state law, as well as Indian law issues. If states make online gambling legal, they can have compacts with other states that would allow gambling on the same service between those states, even internationally.

“My guess is that for several reasons, tax revenues and an aversion of dealing with 50 state bureaucracies and the international treaty issues will lend itself to convincing some federal action on this too,” Geiger comments.

Confluence of online gaming and gambling

He believes that over the next several years a confluence of online gaming and online gambling will happen, creating gaming and gambling options that have never existed before. This could include virtual world casinos, totally new types of games to gamble on, an integration of the online gaming experience with gambling at land based casinos. “My view of Zynga is that it must enter the gambling space or its business will disappear substantively and it would get sold at a discount,” Geiger says. He expects Facebook to enter the gambling space sooner or later, in one way or another. “If they don’t they will lose much of their customer base.”

So far, Facebook prohibits gambling on its platform even in countries where it’s legal, such as the UK. Across the EU laws regulating online gambling are far from consistent – a fact that would certainly complicate a move into gambling for Facebook and game publishers.

Geiger sees an opportunity for the biggest gaming companies that by virtue of adding gambling will grow to sizes much larger than most exclusively non-gambling gaming companies. “In the end, the non-gambling gaming will most likely be a division of a larger business that does both.”

18Jan/12

Yazino Updates iOS Version of Wheel Deal

By Sebastian Sujka

Yazino has announced that the iOS version of its most popular social game, Wheel Deal by Yazino, rocketed to the top of the Casino category in the US App Store after a refresh of the game added a host of new features and gameplay updates. Wheel Deal is the first real-time, multiplayer slots game with the added thrill of a game-show style bonus round. In the mobile version – just like the online game – up to 12 players compete against each other to win the jackpot and become the Wheel Deal champion.

Available exclusively for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, Wheel Deal lets users play in real-time against friends and other gamers regardless of whether they are playing via Yazino.com, Facebook or mobile, and connecting via 3G or WiFi. The mobile version of Wheel Deal by Yazino includes all the same social features as the web version, and even allows users to invite your friends to play along directly from their phone contacts.

Yazino players are able to compete in real-time with each other. Yazino games feature levels, achievements, leaderboards and tournaments, allowing players to compete and play amongst friends and the rest of Yazino users.

26Sep/11

World’s Largest Virtual Casino Game Hits 1 Million Daily Players on Facebook

By Sebastian Sujka

Social gaming company Double Down Interactive announced today that more than 1 million people are playing daily at DoubleDown Casino on Facebook. According to AppData.com, DoubleDown Casino is the largest free multi-game social casino with more than a million Daily Active Users (DAU), and 4.3 million Monthly Active Users (MAU). The application offers 17 integrated games including twelve slots games, blackjack, video poker and roulette. Additional titles including multiplayer poker are coming soon.”We have doubled our customer base in just the past two months and continue to invest heavily in our platform to support our future growth, ” said Glenn Walcott, President of Double Down Interactive. “Our team is having a blast building increasingly high-value casino games with viral mechanics. Our 17 different games provide a valuable and free casino gaming destination that is unrivaled anywhere on the web.” Three of DoubleDown Casino’s newest blockbuster games contributed to the massive growth, including Fireworks Slots, Horoscope Slots and Candy Shop Slots.

DoubleDown Casino players can now also gift virtual chips to friends on Facebook, and a few weeks after launching this feature, gamers have already gifted more than $100 billion in chips to one another. “Facebook has been invaluable in providing us a platform that makes it possible to reach the millions of casino gamers across the globe,” said Greg Enell, co-founder and CEO of Double Down Interactive. “And Facebook credits have dramatically increased our revenues, thus funding the expedited delivery of new games and services that are proving very popular with our 1 million daily players.” Enell claims that more and more people who play the free casino game on Facebook are also spending real money on virtual chips, and this trend continues to rapidly tick upward for the company. Industry reports show similar patterns. Visa’s PlaySpan and VG Market Study indicated that nearly 31% of the overall gamer population has used real money to buy virtual goods. If fact, micro-transactions are expected to be as large as the console market by 2013 in terms of global revenue, according to ThinkEquity.